Virginia closes home schedule with matches vs. Terps, Eagles
After momentous victory against Georgia Tech, squad welcomes surging Maryland, struggling Boston College
The Virginia volleyball team plays its final home matches of the season this weekend when it hosts Maryland and Boston College.
The Cavaliers (8-18, 2-12 ACC) posted their second ACC win of the year Friday with a thrilling five-set victory against Georgia Tech. The team dropped a tough match to Clemson the following night to finish 1-1 for the weekend.
The result was gargantuan for Virginia, who had struggled for much of the season but has seemingly started to gel down the stretch.
“It was a really good win for us against Georgia Tech,” senior setter Rachel Gray said. “I can’t remember the last time we actually won against Georgia Tech during my career here, so it was a really exciting win. They’re a really good team.”
Up first this weekend is Maryland (14-13, 5-10 ACC), who has also managed to turn its season around after a rough stretch. At one point the Terrapins had lost six matches in a row, but they have since won four of their last five, with three of those victories coming in the ACC.
The following evening, Boston College (10-17, 4-11 ACC) will try to spoil Virginia’s senior night. After a 4-3 start to the conference schedule, the Eagles have struggled mightily and dropped eight matches in a row. Boston College came within one set of topping Duke last weekend but ultimately fell in five to prolong their skid. The Cavaliers will be looking for a bit of revenge, as the first meeting between the teams this year in Chestnut Hill ended in a sweep for the Eagles.
With Maryland and Boston College each expecting important contributors to return from the injury list this weekend, Virginia has faced a stiff challenge in preparing for the matches. The Cavaliers, however, still believe they will enter the season’s final weekend ready to excel after an encouraging week of training.
“We’re having a great week right now in practice,” senior right side Tobi Farrar said. “The last two days have gone really well with hard work. I think we need to work on keeping our composure and going for all of the balls. We need to play hard and outwork the other team.”
This weekend’s matches will hold a special meaning for seniors Gray, Ferrar and middle Jessica O’Shoney as they play in front of the Memorial Gymnasium crowd for the last time in their careers. The class has had a very tumultuous career, enduring a string of tough seasons and the coaching change from Lee Maes to Dennis Hohenshelt this year.
“It’s a really weird feeling,” Gray said. “I was thinking about it last weekend, and I was reflecting on my time here and thinking how crazy it is that it’s my last home games ever in this gym. I just want to leave on a positive note and get two more wins my last two games here in Mem Gym.”
Hohenshelt has already built a close relationship with his seniors. The coach saw many classes come and go during his 16 years as an assistant at Penn State, but he knows it never gets any easier.
“You’re excited and you’re also a little sad about it,” Hohenshelt said. “I know they’re looking forward to senior night. It’s a nice thing … I’m excited for them, so hopefully we’ll give them a win to go out on.”